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“You Can’t get there rom here.”
ural India has a massive pent-up demand ormobile services; a limitless supply o low-costlabour to help deploy them; and a large entrepreneurialclass ready to deliver services at the local level. Cheaphandsets are available and, unlike urban locations, spaceor Base Stations is plentiul.As powerul as these market drivers may be, the inhibi-tors are even more ormidable. The obstacles to providing protable mobile servicesto rural India (and similar rural populations all overthe world) come rom two main sources: the inherent
constraints o the market
– its geography, economy andskill levels; and the inherent
limitations o current GSM
technology, processes and models.
the Challenges o rural india
There are our main diculties in serving rural commu-nities, each one o which has appeared insurmountable:
– Most o rural India is not served by the power grid. Some areas may get ‘ag-ricultural power’ – two hours in the morning and evening – but even this is the exception.When uel can be aorded and delivered, power tends to come rom diesel generators. The com-bination o poor uel quality and poor generator maintenance severely limits the lie o any generator.
– Rural India can pay or mobile services, but only around $3 per month. Thecost base o any solution has to be geared to these ARPU levels.
– There are no trained telecomengineers and ew people can read or write. Thismakes the installation and maintenance o GSMnetworks highly challenging.
– These are extremely remotecommunities, served by poor roads and no other signifcant inrastructure.
Despite these challenges, other complex services haveprotably been delivered to rural India (including cabletelevision).Unortunately, the mobile systems in use all over theworld today seem to have been designed to maximisevulnerability to these our challenges.
Today’s GSM is not ready to serve rural India.
“Te os o paive inrasrucure ienormou and teleom ompaniehould onider the inrasrucural hallenge in the rural area.”
– SANJEEV AGA, CHAIRMANCII National Committee on Telecom and Broadband
COMMUNICATION SPEND% of GDP, by region, 2006
Global average: 3.2%
Asia Pacic EasternEuropeAfrica &Middle EastLatinAmerica
Source: Pyramid Research